Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lots of People Write About Shoes

Slice of Life Tuesday, July 26, 2011



             One of the pleasures of teaching writing is finding satisfying lessons that give writers ideas to play around with in their writers notebooks.  In addition to the bone, heart or hand lesson that Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers and Ruth Ayres Writes have written about in different posts, some beginning lessons can be more specific.   In workshop, although I offer the ideas, they still remain a choice, but I do ask students to jot down some ideas about the topic that would help them return to it if desired.  The topics presented help students jumpstart their memories of things important in their pasts, like particular events connected to food, travel, siblings, birthdays, etc.  Sometimes in class, we just have conversations in order to share favorite memories, and then I might send students off to record what the talk helped them remember that was important.  And other times I’ve collected prose and poetry pieces to share about a topic that might spark an idea.  One of those topics I’ve found of continuing interest for students is shoes.  Through the years, I’ve managed to collect a few pieces about shoes, and students always seemed to have a personal story to tell about shoes in their lives.  

Here are some poems I’ve collected about shoes and the links or directions for finding:

“Shoes”  ~Cynthia Rylant  from Something Permanent by Rylant and Walker Evans
“Johnny Laces Up His Red Shoes” ~Cornelius Edy
“The Need for Shoes” ~Molly Bendall
“New Shoes” ~Linda Hogan  from Earth power coming : short fiction in native American
literature    Simon J. Ortiz, ed.
Bound Feet” ~Janet S. Wong, from Good Luck Gold and Other Poems


           And here is my own memory:

            There was a lovely pair of red shoes that I spied in a shop window, red flats that would make me a star to others, and let them know that I was a grown-up girl, ready to give up the socks and tie shoes I had worn almost all my grade school years.  We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but every time we went into the big town near the little town where I lived, I managed to walk by this store for a peek in the window.  These weren’t the times when children begged and begged until their parents bought what they wanted.   Only three times during the year did I receive things:  Christmas, my birthday, and the beginning of school.  It was not even near the time for any of those days when I saw the red shoes.  I didn’t say anything to family about the shoes, but I kept a diary and a sketchbook as I grew up, and I wrote about them, along with sketching them.  When I sketched, I put them on a young girl and dressed her up quite well!  I sketched her with the shoes more than one time, and my mother must have seen the pictures.  One day, when I opened my closet, there, along with my pair of brown tie shoes, sat the red ones.  I turned around and there was my mother, watching.  I believe her smile was as big as mine.   The shoes were such a surprise because I hadn’t even realized that anyone had noticed how much I had wished for them.  I remember wearing them and wearing them.  They were just perfect, although I did get a few blisters from all the wearing, and parts of my feet turned red for a while from the dye.  I didn’t care; I had my grown-up red shoes! 

13 comments:

  1. I need to write a post about my daughter and shoes. She hates to wear them -- socks too. Thanks for the inspiration! :)
    SAS

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  2. What a sweet post! I love this. I also love that you included all the shoe poems because in the past I have used a writing prompt where students drew their shoes and then wrote a description of those shoes....these poems will be great mentor texts !

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  3. Loved this! Aren't Moms the greatest? Back then no one got anything new unless it was one of the Big Three days. As soon as I read your title it brought to mind my daughter's red shoes when she was almost 2, and her love of shoes to this day. I think we need a shoe posting day. Seems everyone has a shoe story, don't you think?

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  4. Wow! You have included so much in this post. I will be printing this as a gem to share with the teachers I work with. Who doesn't love shoes? Your story made me think of the book The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble.

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  5. Isn't that interesting...shoes as inspiration to write! This was a wonderful post, complete with mentor texts and your own lovely piece. Of course, it made me think of a pair of Birkenstocks (going on 30 years old now) which bring back so many memories!

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  6. Love the mentor texts and idea to write about shoes! I use shoes to discuss the right fit book (I think that comes from Daily 5??) so it would be super easy to fit this in. Great idea -- thanks for sharing it!

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  7. Great combination of explaining your teaching, some mentor texts and your own writing. Your personal story of your red shoes was touching. It doesn't happen that often that dreams come true. The moment when two of you smiled together was sweet.

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  8. What a great idea! I think that you are right that most of us (and our kids) would have a story about a pair of shoes. I know I do!

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  9. You always have the greatest gems. I love the thought of using shoes as an inspiration. My smirk moved from a grin to a full on smile when reading your story. Such a special moment and a great mentor text. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. I love the writing idea.You captured your moment in a splendid way that sparked a memory from my childhood. Loved it. I'm getting ready to post a book called New Old Shoes by Charlotte Blessing. Definitely a connection to your thoughts. I'm keeping this idea. Thanks. MaryHelen

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  11. Your own memory was very touching. What a wonderful memory to keep. In my visual art class, I often have students draw their shoes. Shoes have such character. Next year I will use the poems you've shared and ask students to share their stories about shoes in writing, too.

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  12. I loved this post. What a great idea to use shoes to trigger memories. I enjoyed your detail about having red feet for a while. Isn't that always the way with shoes? Thank you for sharing your resources.

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  13. awww I love your memory. What is it with red shoes? I've always wanted a pair of red high heels or black ones with the red sole.

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